Just another opinionated weblog

Archive for April, 2010

Cheapskate Toys Avoids Stress

I like cheap, the cheaper the better. I use yard sales and thrift shops a lot.

As young parents with little money, we learned to make-do; to get along with what we had. I have completely furnished a two-bedroom house for fifty dollars, and it looked good. My husband painted and re-glued while I cleaned and polished. Authentic old furniture magically appeared to be antiques to friends and family. They eyed it greedily and we glowed.

Our house was always filled with a passel of kids, so nicks and scrapes were common to our furniture. I didn’t stress over them because I knew furniture was replaceable. And cheap. Another bonus is that old furniture was better made than the new, lower-end. I’ve owned both and believe me, low-priced new furniture is pure junk! You’re wasting your money.

As the children grew older and our finances improved, we bought new stuff and it was nice, but we didn’t enjoy it as much. Is that strange? Not to me. Kids can’t romp and play on new furniture. They can’t bring a snack into the living room and enjoy family conversation or games when Mother is worried about stains and scratches. The fun is taken right out of the day when a child is banished to the kitchen. Kids are more important than ‘stuff’ and they give hugs. Mine have good memories of their childhood and I’m glad to say I helped.

Now that we are retired grandparents on Social Security, we’re back to the thrift shops. This time for yard toys. Slides, swings, rocking horses and tricycles – even a Little Tyke playhouse was added to the backyard for five dollars. These are good, top-of-the-line toys that other kids have outgrown. The cost is minimal. The memories the kids will have of visiting their Grandparents will be priceless.

I don’t see the sense of spending hundreds of dollars for toys that will be outgrown or forgotten too soon. I would rather spend as little as possible and do without the stress if something breaks. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

If the kids are old enough, they can help clean the new toys, maybe paint a trike for a younger brother or sister – apply some decals. They will develop pride and self-esteem in their artistry, they really will. Do you see those runs in the paint? Dab their length with a bright candy color, or gold. Bring them out to be noticed. They are supposed to be there!

And, in my opinion, anything that aids brothers and sisters to get along and like each other is a huge bonus and stress-reliever for everyone.

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Is it okay to dream of becoming an amateur writer?

Many people write for fun only and are content to be called amateurs. Even amateurs should aspire to write the right way, and that is where I stand at this moment.

Today’s internet opens the doors to e-magazines, blogs, and web sites to help writers get started. Online writing groups allow you to post your writing and receive feedback on it. Honest feedback will help you learn what you don’t know, so be sure the group is made up of writers of different skill levels. In other words, at least a few should have more skill than you have.

Do you dream of becoming a published author?

Do you want it more than anything and willing to set aside your ego and work for success? That’s the huge first step that I’m still wrestling with.

The next step is finding out what you don’t know, and practicing with all your heart to learn the craft of writing. There are rules that can be broken only after you learn to use them correctly; there are rules that can never be broken, and they are important. I’m finding out those things I don’t know, but it’s a slow go.   One of those things is finding that my biggest fear in writing is posting my work publicly.

It’s the rockiest path I’ve ever tried to walk.

Cheapskates Buy Used Paperbacks

Books – new or used? I vote for used – preferably paperbacks.

I’ve always loved to read and have done a lot of it through the years. I’ve had a library card since I was six-years old. I love going to the library and browsing through the shelves. The problem is, now that I have grand-kids visiting, they want to feel and touch everything. Sticky fingers leave marks on my borrowed books and libraries don’t like that. And forget about wiping their hands first, they’re too fast! Kids can shoot in, fall into my lap (and book) and shoot back out quicker than I can blink now-a-days.  Wait-it gets better!

Cheapskates Avoid Stress Better

I like cheap, the cheaper the better. I use yard sales and thrift shops a lot.

As young parents with little money, we learned to make-do, to get along with what we had. I have completely furnished a two-bedroom house for fifty dollars, and it looked good. My husband painted and re-glued while I cleaned and polished. Authentic old furniture magically appeared as antiques to friends and family. They eyed it greedily and we glowed.

Our house was always filled with a passel of kids, so nicks and scrapes were common to our furniture. I didn’t stress over them because I knew furniture was replaceable. And cheap. Another bonus is that old furniture was better made than the new, lower-end stuff. I’ve owned both and believe me, low-priced new furniture is pure junk! You’re wasting your money.

As the children grew older and our finances improved, we bought new stuff and it was nice, but we didn’t enjoy it as much. Is that strange? Not to me. (more…)

Consider Publishing Fillers

Think About Writing Fillers–Yes, Seriously!

Even writers who don’t like kids might be interested in this one. You don’t have to write kids-lit to cash in on these ideas–you only need to be imaginative.

The childrens genre is one of the most versatile of all genres, and gives the creative writer many more opportunities to publish than just writing a piece of fiction. If you’re ready to submit your work, think seriously about magazines. There are mags for every subject imaginable and the ones in my copy of the Children’s Magazine Market accept a percentage of their work from non-published freelance writers. If you don’t have expertise on a subject, research thoroughly and appear as if you do.

Don’t think you must stick to children’s magazines. Are you familiar with Hot Rod? Read More